Who Runs the World (Or Florence)?

I seem to always be quoting Beyoncé recently. Maybe because she’s produced millions of songs, and the kind that stick in your brain. I’m not actually a mega-fan.

Anyways, I thought I’d do a less work-orientated post on running in Florence – see where the title was going now? Some people live for the gym, but I am not one of them. Running has always been my way of ensuring I can walk up one, or two flights of stairs, without collapsing. It is also a fantastic way to get to know a city and de-stress. If you’ve been cramped up at a desk all day, there is nothing better than fresh air.

Florence isn’t a particularly large city, but a lot is crammed into the central part, which makes it easy to forget the surrounding areas. Tip number one: Don’t try and run in the centre. Just don’t do it, unless it’s at the crack of dawn. There are far too many tourists, who stop at a moments notice to take photos of an interesting paving slab, or fat pigeon. I haven’t explored too much, but I thought I’d share the few routes I have tried, so all you lovely readers can run in semi-peace, away from the tourist-infested spaces.

  1. The first route is alongside the Arno. This might seem counter-intuitive to what I’ve just told you, but if you get far enough away from the Ponte Vecchio things get much quieter. The paths here are generally pretty wide, and you can keep going for a good few km. The view isn’t bad either.
  2. Second, is Parco delle Cascine. It’s at the far end of the city, near Santa Maria Novella train station. It’s the biggest park in Florence, and it’s free. You’ll find yourself in the company of runners, cyclists and roller-bladers of all ages. However, I wouldn’t recommend running here in the dark, especially if you’re alone. Normally, I’m a night owl, but in Florence I try and keep to daylight time, to be on the safe side.
  3. If you really want a challenge, try taking Viale Machiavelli, then Viale Galileo, two winding roads that lead you up behind the Boboli Gardens, towards San Miniato al Monte and Piazza Michelangelo. The path is nice and wide, often very quiet, and has fantastic views. It’s a very slow incline all the way up, so prepare yourself mentally.

Or just start running and see where it takes you. Florence is too small to really get lost in, so as long as you’re not a first time runner, you’ll manage to make your way back.

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